Port Douglas ‘no more or less ideal’ for retirement village than Mossman: Mayor


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu at the site of the new water reservoir in Port Douglas last week. IMAGE: Mark Murray - Newsport.

DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu said today no new developer had come forward to construct a retirement village in the shire following last week’s decision by Waks Developments to pull the plug on their proposed development of a retirement complex on Ferrero Road in Port Douglas.

And although she said that plans for a retirement village will be part of Stage 2 of the new Mossman nursing home development, Council does not have a preferred option involving Port Douglas and Mossman.

“Council does not have a preferred option (Port Douglas or Mossman), but any development needs to be done in accordance with the Planning Scheme.

“The location identified as part of Stage 2 of the Mossman nursing home is obviously ideal for a retirement village as it is close to medical, shopping and other facilities as well as the nursing home for residents, who may need to transition to this level of care as they get older.”

Leu said Council had not yet requested expressions of interest from developers regarding a retirement village in Mossman, or any other location.

“Council treats each planning application on its merits and does not have one for a proposed retirement village from any developer, including Waks Developments.”

Leu dismissed the suggestion that Port Douglas would be better suited for a retirement village.

“Port Douglas is no more or less ideal for a retirement village than Mossman, Cooya Beach or Wonga Beach.

“Mossman is a fantastic place to live regardless of what stage of life you’re in and is particularly suitable for retirement living due to its access to medical services, shopping and recreational facilities. It is also more affordable than property in Port Douglas,” she said.

Leu said although Port Douglas is a fantastic place to live, Mossman is the gateway to the Daintree Rainforest and only 10 minutes’ drive to the beach and Port Douglas.

“It has fabulous recreational facilities, a vibrant arts community and is a very culturally-diverse, friendly and welcoming town,” she said.

Council is currently working towards getting the site ready for developers to tender for the construction of a new retirement village to complement the much-needed aged-care facility currently being constructed by The Salvation Army Aged-Care Plus on Johnston Rd, Mossman.

“Under our new Planning Scheme, which we expect the State Government to approve in the near future, Council has included land to the west of the highway in Craiglie as a Residential Investigation Area to enable consideration of suitable types of development, including the possibility of a retirement village, in this location if it meets certain criteria.

“Part of the criteria includes the developer paying for any trunk infrastructure, which for a development of the size of the proposed residential development in Ferrero Road would likely cost millions of dollars,” Leu said.

Trunk Infrastructure is the development infrastructure identified as such in the “Plans for Trunk Infrastructure” in a Priority Infrastructure Plan. The types of infrastructure which may be included in the plans for trunk infrastructure include water supply, sewerage, storm water and trunk roads and pathways.

“What many people may not realise; had Council zoned the area as the developer (Waks Development) had wanted, Council would have been obligated to the provision of substantial trunk infrastructure which had not been planned or budgeted for.

“This is partly the purpose of the Residential Investigation Area to make sure any development west of the highway is provided with appropriate services, without unnecessarily impacting the use of ratepayers’ money,” Leu said.

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